*** Spoiler Alert***
With a shared universe, there should be places on the field that are out of bounds. In the past, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been wondering why the Avengers are not called in on every solitary hero’s film if the stakes are high enough. The excuse could be as simple as “they’re busy” or “they are too far away” when the real answer is closer to “this adventure is meant to focus on this character.” That’s why the team isn’t called at the conclusions of such films as Iron Man 3, Spider-Man: Far From Home (or any of these Spider-Man movies), or at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (let’s keep in mind that many superheroes showed up for that rousing airport battle in Captain America Civil War). Now the MCU is pushing its way into slightly new territory, starting with the Eternals from last year and continuing with Moon Knight, the idea that every citizen on Earth is witnessing world-changing events that are so big that the other heroes have to not only have seen these events too but should weigh in in them.
In the Eternals, it was Arishem (basically, god) showing up out of the blue and revealing himself to the whole planet, and in this film, it’s two events: an unplanned eclipse and a rewind of the night sky stars to a particular night from 2,000 years ago.
I guess, for the MCU, literally anything goes now.
Well, let’s back up a bit. The episode begins with Marc Spectre fighting a bunch of bad guys in Cairo as he tries to find Ammit’s tomb before Arthur does. Every time there is a pause in these fights, the standoff is always at a wall with some kind of reflective surface so that he can see his reflection and can talk to his other personality, Steven Grant. This conceit has become exhausting already. Meanwhile, Arthur has already found the dig site using the scarab. He tells his men to start digging as Konshu himself creates that unscheduled eclipse mentioned earlier if only to draw the attention of the other Egyptian gods. Using portals, all the Avatars, including Marc, meet to discuss why Konshu has basically broken the sky, and it’s up to his avatar, Marc, to convince them to stop Arthur from releasing Ammit. This discussion of the Avatars is a very long scene that takes up what seems to be a quarter of the episode and ultimately does nothing for the story. When it’s over, nothing has changed, Arthur is able to keep digging, and Marc is given a new task. His mission is to find a black market dealer who might have Senfu’s sarcophagus. Since this Senfu was a follower of Ammit who was (conveniently) tasked with recording the location of Ammit’s tomb, Marc has to penetrate the black market underworld. This is all more convoluted than it needs to be as if they are giving us “filler” material in a series that is only six episodes long.
Naturally, Marc meets up (in a completely random circumstance) with Layla so that she can help him. Why did the writers separate these two if they were only going to have them work together again so quickly? Never mind, because around the time they find the sarcophagus, we are already past the halfway point, and we’ve seen no superhero action yet. Put a pin in that; we’ll be back to that in a moment.
The hero is, of course, Steven Grant, who starts to help Marc decipher puzzles in that sarcophagus. Yes, the gift shop worker who doesn’t even know what day it is knows all about such puzzles. When the bad guys surrounding the black market dealer start getting wise to what they might be doing, it’s time for both versions of Moon Knight to “summon the suit” and begin wreaking havoc. Once safe with clues (which will later be assembled into a star-shaped map that looks like something that a kid would come up with), Marc summons Steve again to decipher the stars’ positions on the map. However, the night sky looks a lot different today than it did back then, so Konshu sacrifices himself to “rewind the night sky.” As expected, the other gods imprison him in stone, but at least Marc knows where Ammit’s tomb is. Until Konshu is freed, he’s got no support from that cool superhero suit.
So, a show whose first episode was great because it forced the audience to look for clues, to discern the story from a few scant clues here and there, and to participate in the events, is now just running on autopilot. The show itself is doing all the thinking. Arthur still seems to be speaking in not-so-clever rituals, and his goal to awaken a spirit that will prevent evil from happening (instead of, as he claims, avenging evil after it happens, as Konshu has) still doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing. I’m still waiting to hear how the other Avengers would respond to all that happened in his episode.
Also, Konshu started as a pretty funny character (I loved him in that first episode when he kept calling Steven Grant “the idiot”). Now, he’s just rash and stupid, and he has taken away all of the agency from both Steven and Marc.
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